|Perrysburg girls CC ready for state (10-31-13)|
|Written by THOMAS SCHMELTZ Sentinel Sports Writer|
|Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:45|
PERRYSBURG - Heading into its most important meet of the season, Perrysburg's girls cross country team is performing at its highest level.
Last week, the Yellow Jackets produced the program's first regional title as all seven runners finished in the top 32.
Now the 'Jackets face a bigger task as they will compete in the state cross country meet on Saturday at venerable National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
"It was the best race they've run all season, which is saying a lot because they've run pretty well in the previous weeks," Perrysburg coach Jon Monheim said of the regional race.
"All seven ran their best race of the season," Monheim added, adding six of the seven runners set personal records in the regional meet at Hedges-Boyer Park.
Taylor Monheim finished third l at the regional in 18:41, while Courtney Clody was eighth in 19:04. Jordan Doore, 14th, 19:14; Emily Henry, 20th, 19:31; Grace Lahey, 24th, 19:39; Katie Menke, 26th, 19:43; and Allie Kemp, 32nd, 19:53 rounded out the top seven for the 'Jackets.
Perrysburg totaled 61 points in the event as the top five finishers on each team are counted for scores. Brunswick was second with 104 points.
Perrysburg, ranked fifth in the final coaches poll and sixth in the pre-regional coaches poll, last went to state in 2010, finishing ninth.
In a season that was expected to be successful, Perrysburg has used a relatively young and inexperienced team en route to Northern Lakes League, district and regional titles this fall.
Among the top seven runners, Clody, a senior, Doore, a junior, and Lahey, a freshman, are in their first year of high school cross country.
Taylor Monheim brings the most experience, competing at state individually in 2011 and 2012, in addition to her 2010 appearance with the team as a freshman. She hopes to earn All-Ohio honors for the first time in her career.
The top 25 runners are named to the All-Ohio team.
But for Clody, who previously played soccer and was a member of Perrysburg's state championship team last fall, and Doore, who previously played volleyball, just because they have not participated in cross country does not me they are inexperienced runners.
Clody and Doore, along with Taylor Monheim, were part of the state runnerup 3,200 meter relay team last spring.
"The minute (Clody and Doore) said they were going to run I knew we had a chance to be pretty good," Jon Monheim said. "We would've been good without them, but we're really good with them."
Clody and Doore have been a staple in Perrysburg's lineup all season, competing as the team's second and third runners.
"They brought a ton to the team. ... They are so awesome and work so hard," Taylor Monheim said of Clody and Doore. "Even though they had never done the sport before, they came into it really naturally like they had been doing it for years."
The additions of Clody and Doore are not the only reason for success, according to Jon Monheim. He credited the all of his runners for the success they have seen this year.
"We're strong one through seven. We're beating teams because of our depth," he said.
As for nerves for a team with such little experience at the state level, the experienced head coach is trying to keep everything simple for his team.
''We want to keep doing what we've been doing. ... We're not trying to do anything different," Clody said. "We're just going to try to run the way we've been running."
"They're pretty comfortable in knowing that we've already run our best race and we just have to repeat that to reach our goal," Jon Monheim said of his team's goal to obtain a top five finish.
Five individuals, all in Division II, will join the Yellow Jackets at the state meet.
The individual qualifiers are Tim Hoodlebrink, Hannah Sponaugle and Maddie Jackson of Eastwood; Brandon Avers of Otsego; and Tyler Rickman of Lake.
Sponaugle and Jackson run at 11:45 a.m., Perrysburg's girls run at 12:30 p.m., and Avers, Rickman and Hoodlebrink run at 2:15 p.m.
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